|Political Relations Between the Republic of Serbia and the European Union|
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EU membership is the foremost strategic foreign policy priority of the Republic of Serbia.
EU is Serbia's most important trading and investment partner and, consequently, one of the major factors of its economic stability. Under Article 49 of the Treaty of the European Union, any European country that respects the set of values spelled out in its Article 2 (human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, rule of law and respect of human rights, including the rights of minorities) and which has committed itself to promoting them may apply for accession to the European Union. In Copenhagen, in 1993, the European Council (comprising representatives of EU Member States on the level of Heads of State or Government) complemented these criteria with the so-called «Copenhagen criteria» (political, economic and legal), which have been expanded by the Madrid criteria on relevant administrative capacities required for progressive and smooth EU integration. All these criteria were included in the 2009 Lisbon Treaty of the European Union and are part and parcel of the so-called Acquis communautaire (often shortened to acquis).
A country aspiring to become an EU member signs with the EU a bilateral Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA), governing relations between the two sides pending full EU membership.
The Republic of Serbia signed the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU on 29 April 2008 which, upon completion of the ratification process in the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, the Parliaments of EU Member States and the European Parliament, entered into force on 1 September 2013. It was granted EU candidate status on 1 March 2012, whereas the European Council Decision of 28 June 2013 on initiating accession negotiations with Serbia, opened the most demanding phase of EU integration – membership negotiations, which imply full alignment with the EU system, values and legislation.
These negotiations are focused on conditions under which the candidate country will adopt, implement and carry out the acquis communautaire, divided into 35 theme chapters.
The Government of the Republic of Serbia appointed Dr. Tanja Miscevic as the chief negotiator of the Republic of Serbia on accession to the European Union, at its meeting of 3 September 2013.
At the same time, the Government adopted a decision to create a Negotiating Team for the accession of Serbia to the EU, which will be responsible for coordinating and managing the process of negotiations, in line with the platform for negotiations to be set out by the Government.
More detailed information on EU enlargement is available at http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement.
1) Chronology of relations between the Republic of Serbia and the European Union
Cooperation between the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia (NARS) and the European Parliament (EP) is being maintained through the EP Delegation for Relations with the Countries of South-East Europe (SEE). Chairmanship of the Delegation is held by EPP group (Head of the Delegation is Slovakian MEP Eduard Kukan). Inter-parliamentary cooperation is also going on with EP groupings directly, including in the framework of sharing experiences between the relevant Committees on European Integration of Parliaments from the SEE region.
Meetings between the EP and the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia have taken place since 1994, but it was not before 2004 that they were formalized with the initiation of Inter-Parliamentary Dialogue meetings. In addition to the Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) and the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), Serbia attaches great importance to the Western Balkan Group, established at the founding meeting of 6 October 2009.